Thursday, May 5, 2011

Outstanding Scientific Women in last 100 years (2)

Rosalind Franklin, British Biophysicist (1920-1958), was trained as a physical chemist and microbiologist and made an important contribution to science: using X-ray crystallography, her work led to the discovery of the structure of DNA, that is, that this molecule consists of an intertwined double helix of atoms.  Her "Photo 51" gave colleagues Watson and Crick the needed evidence to confirm the double helix structure of atoms, which they published in Nature on April 1953, with little acknowledgement to Rosalind`s contribution, gaining a Nobel prize in Medicine in 1962.  This exclusion is considered an example of sexism in the scientific research world.

She was born in London in 1920, studied natural science at Newnham College, Cambridge, and died at 38 years old of ovarian cancer, probably due to high exposure to X-rays in her laboratory work.

 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, British Chemist (1910-1994), studied chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, where she obtained a first class degree in 1932, then did PhD at Cambridge.  Some years later she returned to Oxford, continued her work on the structure of insulin and published her findings in Nature in 1935.  She worked on the structure of penicilline and vitamine B12 and in 1964 was awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry "for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances"

First woman to be awarded the Royal Society`s Order of Merit, highest honour; first woman to be appointed (1970) as Chancellor of the University of Bristol.

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